EARLY trade routes?

I found it difficult to start earning echoes, so I looked up trade routes, but every route I’ve read about leads into more dangerous waters far from London. To go there I need a better weapon or faster ship, and to get those I need echoes. How do I get off the ground?

There is a decent chance I’m just bad at this. Port Reports don’t leave me with a profit after fuel, supplies, and terror management. I can get about three map-segments east before I start to really struggle at evading enemies. I do know trading isn’t very profitable, but I can’t kill things without taking an expensive amount of damage yet.

If you have trouble with enemies, turn the lights off to stay unnoticed or flee using Full Power. They’re not really a problem.

I have been doing exactly that. Eventually they get numerous enough that they are a problem for me: turning the lights off all the time makes my crew go mad, fleeing all the time burns more extra fuel than I can afford… I can avoid getting killed, but I can’t get very far out into dangerous waters before I have to turn back. Hence, can’t find the islands for the good trade routes yet.

The only thing that comes to my mind is the Salt-Lions sphinxstone trade.

IIRC, it’s a very good way to kickstart a captain.
It requires an investment of 200 echoes, but as long as you transport more than 8 at once, you’ll make a profit.

edited by Issimgur on 6/2/2020

There are two good early trade routes to really kickstart a captain’s journey. The first is Sphinxstone, for which you’ll need a down payment and a lot of cargo space so be sure to leave as much hold free as you can. The second is selling coffee to the surface. If you’re willing to take a bit of a bigger risk, buy a mirrorcatch box or two so you can capture sunlight while up there to sell in London.

Both of these trades are limited, Sphinxstone runs out, the coffee buyer stops buying and eventually you will become addicted to sunlight and will not be able to safely transport it. By the time you run out you should have enough capital to make more daring moves.

Trading is by and large useless at early levels. Your best echo source is actually Port Reports, which provide both 1 fuel each and some echoes to boot. As well as just interacting in areas and following stories.

I realized as long as Hunter’s Keep is standing I can pick up Salt’s attention there and swap it for an extraordinary implication at the Salt Lions as a bonus (if this has hidden drawbacks I’ll find/die to them myself). That and the surface are great ideas, thanks for the help guys!

The game does not do hidden drawbacks, in the sense that everything works via qualities. If a quality isn’t changing, then there aren’t lasting consequences. Technically the engine supports hidden qualities, but I don’t believe they are ever used.